Thursday, March 21, 2024

Hebrew and Greek Resources for Ordinary People



Big Idea: Helpful resources for Christians to explore what Biblical key words mean in their original language.


We can learn a lot about God and His desire for our life by reading and studying the Bible.

The Bible was originally written in the ancient languages of Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). 

The Holy Spirit helps us understand the Bible no matter what language it is in. God's Word is living, active and relevant!

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT


The Pastor’s Prerogative


Your pastor may sometimes explain how a word n the original language of the Bible has powerful relevance to our understanding of a certain passage.

On Easter, the pastor of my church coached the whole congregation to say the Greek word “tetelestai” (tet-less-tie) which means “It is finished!”

It was used in ancient Greek and Roman days when someone paid a bill. It meant “Paid-in-Full.” This was Jesus’ last word on the cross. He paid the debt for our sin completely, on the cross in our place.

Many pastors have had classes on Hebrew and Greek languages and have language resources in their library or computer.


What about you?


Woman with hands on hips

Can YOU do that? 

Is that allowed? 

Isn’t that dangerous?



If you want to dig deeper into Bible study on your own it is valuable to examine words of the original languages of the Bible. You can get insights without learning to speak the language.

Resources are available online for free. 


Four Cautions


1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you as you study. Always. Studying a word in the original language is not just an academic exercise. The purpose is for heart knowledge of God that is relevant to your life.

2. Avoid confusion. If you don’t understand the Bible at all in English, looking at the original words may only confuse you. You need to let God’s words speak to you in your native language first. Find a Bible study or a Christian friend to talk and pray with together about the Bible.

3. Don’t overdo it. Don't take each word in a verse. That is frustrating and confusing. Your study should be more designed to look at a key word in a passage.

4. Don’t act arrogant. When teaching, I try to avoid saying, “In the Hebrew (or Greek) it means this.”

Throwing around this knowledge can be confusing especially to those who don’t know about the original languages. Saying it like this just comes across like a know-it-all.

Instead I say, “I believe this word has deeper insight when looking at it in its original language of the Bible.”


The easiest way


1. Use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Every word of the Bible in Strong’s identifies the original
word with a number corresponding to a dictionary of those original words at the back. That dictionary entry is a good start.  

Here's my previous blog on using Strong's.


2. Read a book with key words researched for you. Here are a couple of books written for any Christian.
 

Hebrews

 Greek

A Greek Word for a Day: Key Words in the New Testament

Deeper into the Word: New Testament: Reflections on 100 Words of the New Testament

Greek Word Study: 90 Ancient Words that Unlock Scripture


Learning to Go Deeper


There are a lot of resources for Hebrew and Greek Bible texts. Most of these listed on this chart are stand alone books you can buy from Amazon or Christian Book Distributors. Most of the books on these Bible sites are freeware because they have been around a long time. Don't dismiss them. They have much to offer.

Most of the resources make use of the Strong’s word numbers. Therefore it is useful to have a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance or know how to find their number.

There are many, many books out there on Biblical Hebrew and Greek.

Here are four online Bible sites that are free to anyone online. They use different hard copy books that have been digitalized. Some have permission for newer resources. You can compare these resources and see which program may best fit your need.

I will review and talk about using each site at another time. Each one takes some practice.  There are how-to YouTube videos available for all of them. 

Blue Letter Bible Excellent resource for researching Bible words and a lot more.

Bible Hub Outstanding resourse of Bible version comparisons, original languages, commentaries side by side, atlases, topical Bibles, etc.

Logos Free  More resources are available to by in packages but they are expensive, especially when you consider just how much is available online for free.

E-Sword  I like to use this version best on my ipad for quick reference, but prefer the PC version for detailed study.

Chart

The Word of God always comes first!


There are many great Bible tools around! Just be sure studying them does not replace the primary importance of the Bible! The Word of God always comes first!
 

This series is about Bible study tools. There are many types of Bibles and helpful resources like a concordance or Bible dictionary. Information about their book and their electronic version are included. Cost and “how to use” will be addressed.

__________________

Previous: How Can a Bible Concordance Help Me?
Up next:
____________________

Reflect:

1. Can you think of a  Hebrew or Greek word a pastor or Bible study leader revealed? What was it? Does the illustration or idea of it stick with you today? How might it help you as a Christian?

2. If you could understand one word better in the Bible (in English) what might that word be? Why does it interest you?